Mindanao needs more testing labs -- solon

A Mindanaoan solon is appealing for more coronavirus disease (COVID-19) testing laboratories in the region.

Cagayan de Oro Rep. Rufus Rodriguez said this is to monitor the spread of the virus and protect the people of Mindanao.

To date, only the Southern Philippines Medical Center in Davao City that has been designated as testing center.

Rodriguez is proposing to the Department of Health to accredit all regional hospitals in Mindanao as testing laboratories.

He said while the Northern Mindanao Medical Center in Cagayan de Oro has been selected as a Covid-19 referral center, “up to now, it has no testing laboratory and no test kits.”

“The swab samples are still sent to Davao City, causing much delay,” he said.

He added that the immediate selection of more laboratories and deployment of test kits are in line with the recommendation of the World Health Organization for the mass evaluation of suspected coronavirus carriers.

Rodriguez pointed out that this is also the recommendation of various groups of businessmen, doctors, local leaders and other concerned citizens in Mindanao.

He stressed that the designation of regional testing centers would make COVID-19 examination accessible to the people of Mindanao and contribute immensely to preventing the spread of the virus.

“Many of our regions are far from Davao City like the Zamboanga area and the islands of Basilan, Sulu and Tawi-Tawi,” he said.

Proposals have already been sent to Health Secretary Francisco Duque lll and Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano.